8 People In Hollywood Who Bought Comic Books Just For the Hell Of It

By  · Published on August 5th, 2015

20th Century Fox

When you work in Hollywood, god forbid you want to just read some comic books. It doesn’t matter if you’re a movie star or someone’s assistant, because a connection will be made between what you’re buying at the comic shop and a movie or character that you or your employers may be involved with.

But all you have to do is make your purchases online instead of physically entering a public place where you can be seen and even photographed, right? Well, now thanks to a report from Heroic Hollywood about a Sony executive ordering “Kraven’s Last Hunt” on Amazon and speculating that Kraven the Hunter therefore must be the next Spider-Man movie villain, industry players aren’t even safe trying to secretly buy books on the internet.

Of course, there is a difference between a top exec from the story department of a studio buying a specific comic title while on the job and an actor or actress picking up a couple comics while out and about in their everyday private lives. Still, even if the Kraven book is being acquired for research purposes, there’s no certainty such exploration will result in anything that winds up on the screen in two years.

For proof that rumors of comic book purchasing and/or clutching is never a good sign of what’s to come, below is a list of eight actors and actresses who were presumed to be researching a superhero role. And to be fair, we can still assume that they were in fact doing research and just didn’t get or take the part they were up for. But one or two of them might also have just wanted to enjoy a graphically told story of Avengers or mutants. Good thing comic-reader Humphrey Bogart never had to deal with this sort of thing.

Eva Longoria for The Wasp?

The first memorable instance of a star being seen with comics was back in September 2008, when Eva Longoria was photographed leaving the L.A. offices of Marvel Studios with a business card and a handful of titles. Rumor quickly spread on a hunch that she would play Janet Van Dyne, aka The Wasp, in The Avengers. She later denied even knowing who that character is, but she must have been in contention for something, right? Regardless, Marvel does still need someone to play Janet Van Dyne, whose face we never see in Ant-Man. Could Longoria play Evangeline Lilly’s mom?

Katee Sackhoff for Typhoid Mary?

A year later, the first great comic-purchase-based rumor began with the shop itself. L.A.’s Golden Apple Comics blogged about how Katee Sackhoff had come in to buy up everything they had featuring the villain Typhoid Mary and apparently told them she had hopes of playing the character on screen. At the time, a Daredevil movie reboot was on the table at Fox, so everyone figured this was for that. It wasn’t, but a couple years later sites were still asking her about the chance, to which the fan obviously said she would be very interested. Maybe one day for the Netflix series, then? Sackhoff is no stranger to TV.

Rosamund Pike for Emma Frost?

In the summer of 2010, we fell for another one that seemed so believable. Rosamund Pike, then still best known as a Bond girl, was supposedly seen in the office of Matthew Vaughn’s regular casting director, Lucinda Syson, who was presumably scouting for X-Men: First Class. And on top of being caught at the scene, the actress was apparently holding a copy of “X-Men Origins: Emma Frost.” So, the woman who played Miranda Frost in Die Another Day probably was up for the role of Emma Frost in the X-Men prequel and wound up being passed over for January Jones.

Morena Baccarin for The Wasp?

That fall, ComicBookMovie.com got a tip from the set of the V revival about Morena Baccarin skipping out to a comic book shop on her break. Her objective: buy a bunch of “Avengers” comics featuring The Wasp. Unlike Longoria, there was a direct hit on the character this time, but alas obviously nothing came of it. She too could now take the vacant role teased in Ant-Man, but at the moment she’s co-starring in another comic book movie – look for her in February as Copycat, also the main character’s love interest, in Deadpool.

Mary Louise Parker for Lois Lane?

One months later, another shop owner started a rumor by sharing a famous customer’s purchase with a movie site. Mary Louise Parker went into this guy’s book store and bought three Superman graphic novels, one of which was “The Death of Superman,” and wouldn’t answer his query of whether they were work related. ComicBookMovie.com speculated that she could be playing an older Lois Lane opposite an older Supe, played by Jon Hamm. Or maybe she was being considered for the part of Martha Kent, seeing as someone younger (Diane Lane) wound up in the role in Man of Steel.

Andrew Garfield for The Avengers?

This was a different kind of rumor, so it was pretty interesting but also very thin. Andrew Garfield was photographed in New York clutching a bunch of “Avengers” comic books. Of course, there was no speculation of whether he’d be taking on a new superhero role. This was actually a week shy of his debut as the web-slinging lead of The Amazing Spider-Man. But there was just no believing he might want to just read some other comics titles (The Avengers had recently hit theaters, so couldn’t he have just seen it and been curious about the source material?), and word spread that he was probably doing research for a crossover into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sadly, it would be a few more years for franchises to collided and now Garfield is no longer Spidey. But, hey, he could always sign on to the MCU as another character.

Joaquin Phoenix for Dr. Strange?

We do know now that Joaquin Phoenix was in the running to star in Doctor Strange, but last summer it was still deemed a rumor that he was being considered for the title role. Meanwhile, The Playlist shared some tweets from people claiming that Phoenix was seen buying “Doctor Strange” comics in Connecticut. It quickly was apparent that this wasn’t a mere coincidental case of an actor wanting to do some light reading. But a few months went by and the actor eventually ended his negotiations with Marvel, leaving the part open for previously rumored contender Benedict Cumberbatch to grab it.

Ernie Hudson for King T’Chaka?

Finally, we have a recent rumor that could actually still turn out to be legit. Ghostbusters star Ernie Hudson was seen earlier this year buying “Black Panther” comic books, according to Latino Review (specifically “El Mayimbe,” aka Umberto Gonzalez, who is now the guy behind Heroic Hollywood and that Kraven rumor). On top of that, though, he has also been seen at the gym, which I guess means he’s only working out for the role of King T’Chaka, father of the title superhero (Chadwick Boseman) of Marvel’s Black Panther. Unless Hudson has an appearance alongside Boseman in Captain America: Civil War, though, the casting would be pretty premature given that we’re still three years away from the Black Panther’s solo feature.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.